Update 3:47 p.m.: All gas leak activity near Soquel Avenue and La Fonda has been cleared and the road has re-opened. Evacuees can return home and to their businesses.
Update 1:17 p.m.: Although previous reports said that Tuesday's gas line break was related to the contruction on the La Fonda Bridge, Kim Schdultz, senior transportation planner for the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission, told Patch that it is unrelated to the bridge project.
According to Schultz, the incident occurred at a separate construction site near Capitola Road Extension where a mental health facility is being built. A construction crew using jackhammers hit a gas main at the site, causing the break and leak, Schultz said.
Update 1 p.m.: Commercial buildings and residences from Morrissey through Prospect Heights, including Harbor High School, have been evacuated, Sheriff's Deputy April Skalland told Patch.
An emergency evacuation center for displaced residents has been established at Santa Cruz Bible Church at 440 Frederick St. in Santa Cruz. Red Cross personnel is on site ready to assist evacuees.
Skalland said that current estimates have roads re-opening at 2 p.m., but a 1 p.m. Nixle alert from the Santa Cruz Police Department said that the closure of Soquel Avenue between Capitola Road and 7th Avenue is expected to last another four hours.
Original Report: Cars are standing like statues on many major thoroughfares Tuesday morning due to both the on Highway 1 and a gas leak on Capitola Road extension.
Both the Capitola Police Department and Santa Cruz Police Department have sent Nixle alerts advising that drivers avoid Soquel Avenue, Soquel Drive and the area around the construction "for the next few hours."
According to KSBW, the gas line was broken by the crews working on the bridge and Soquel Avenue is blocked from 7th Avenue to Capitola Road. Several buildings, including the Animal Hospital of Soquel, were evacuated.